Homeware retailer Dunelm – whose meteoric rise has coincided with John Lewis’ catastrophic demise – is now attempting to trounce its rival in the tech department too with the launch of a virtual shopping service, giving customers expert advice without leaving their homes.
The service, which it also hopes will also cushion it from the continuing effects of the coronavirus lockdown, requires customers to first make an appointment online, where they will be asked to provide information about their style preferences.
During the appointment they will enter a video chat with a “shopping companion”, who will guide them around the store, showcasing products, answering queries and providing expert guidance.
Shoppers will not be forced to purchase anything during the call, but will instead be sent a list of all the items discussed during the call which they can then purchase in their own time.
The service is currently being trialled at Dunelm stores in Reddington and Erdington.
Dunelm brand marketing director Jemma Williams said: “We are really excited at the launch of our new virtual shopping service at Dunelm. We are striving to make the shopping experience within the new circumstances as enjoyable as possible, but most importantly as safe as possible for all of our customers.
“This service makes it more effortless than ever to shop and browse all the fantastic products and collections we have available at Dunelm, helping our customers transform their houses into homes they love.”
The company’s revamped website, which launched in November last year with improved speed and “click and collect”, saw online sales soar 33% in the first half of the financial year with up 6% to £585m. However, like most retailers the company is now playing catch-up because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
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